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Happiness and wellbeing book list

Happiness and reading

Books can help your child feel happier and more confident. Take a look at these titles around improving their mental wellbeing, suitable for all ages.

0 to 5

Yoga Babies by Fearne Cotton

The Yoga Babies love to have fun trying new poses. Sometimes life is busy and tricky, but not to worry - yoga can help everyone chill out. Follow these babies, big and small, as they practise yoga at home, in the garden and before bedtime. Then you and your child can have a go at home, too!

We Are Family by Patricia Hegarty and Ryan Wheatcroft

All families are different - and yet in many ways the same! This book celebrates the everyday differences of families as well as the similarities they all share.

Can I Join Your Club? by John Kelly and Steph Laberis

A heart-warming story which celebrates the importance of diversity and friendship. Perfect for little ones who are learning to make friends at a new school or nursery.

Ruby's Worry by Tom Percival

Ruby loves being Ruby. Until, one day, she finds a worry. At first it's not such a big worry, and that's all right, but then it starts to grow. It gets bigger and bigger every day and it makes Ruby sad. How can Ruby get rid of it and feel like herself again?

Badger’s Parting Gift by Susan Varley

Badger is so old that he knows he must soon die, so he does his best to prepare his friends. When he finally passes away, they are grief-stricken, but one by one they remember the special things he taught them during his life. By sharing their memories, they realise that although Badger is no longer with them physically, he lives on through his friends. This title is endorsed by Child Bereavement UK.

Kaya’s Heart Song by Diwa Tharan Sanders and illustrated by Nerina Canzi

Kaya is looking for her heart song – the song that happy hearts sing. Her search takes her on a journey deep into the jungle where a broken down carousel waits for a very special song to make it turn again. This joyful story set in the vibrant jungles of Malaysia is grounded in the principles of mindfulness, with a helpful information section at the back of the book.

Pass It On by Sophy Henn

A joyful and uplifting picture book about finding happiness in the smallest of things. Here’s a fun idea: when you laugh or smile – pass it on!

The Wardrobe Monster by Bryony Thomson

A wonderful reassuring story for children who might imagine monsters in their bedroom at night time. What's that knocking sound coming from the wardrobe? Every night, it makes Dora and her toy friends afraid to go to bed and every morning they are grumpy through lack of sleep. Eventually, they summon up the courage to face their fear together and open the wardrobe door to find it’s not as bad as they thought.

The Red Dread by Tom Morgan-Jones

A picture book about worries and fears told through woodland creatures. The Red Dread is on the loose and Shrew and the other animals are afraid. From stolen nuts to missing rabbits, they whisper of the terrible actions of the Red Dread. As panic increases, logic and team spirit evaporate and soon it's every creature for itself.

Owl Babies by Martin Waddel

A gentle tale of three baby owls reassures young children that Mummy will always come home. Three baby owls, Sarah, Percy and Bill, wake up one night in their hole in a tree to find that their mother has gone. So they sit on a branch and wait... Darkness gathers and the owls grow anxious, wondering when their mother will return. But, at last, she does and they bounce up and down with joy, welcoming her home.

5 to 8

Charlie Star by Terry Milne

This book addresses the issue of anxiety in a light-hearted and reassuring way. Charlie is an anxious dachshund who worries that something terrible might happen if he doesn't keep to his daily rituals. After he is called upon to help rescue a friend and in the rush forgets his rituals, Charlie discovers that he doesn't have to be ruled by them and that change can have really positive outcomes.

Happy, Sad, Feeling Glad by Yasmin Ismail

An endearing and engaging look at emotions and how different situations cause different feelings. What has made Dog happy? Do you know what Cat is scared of? And why is Donkey so excited? A range of fun art activities encourages young readers to explore their feelings and express themselves with drawings, doodles and decorations.

Mariella Queen of the Skies by Eoin Colfer and Katy Halford

Mariella loves nothing more than inventing, but bedtime keeps getting in the way of all her brilliant ideas! But everyone needs sleep, and without it all of Mariella's brilliant ideas might just disappear...

Me and My Fear by Francesca Sanna

A beautifully illustrated book about new beginnings and the anxieties that come along with them. When a young girl has to travel to a new country and start at a new school, her Fear tells her to be alone and afraid. How can she hope to make friends if she doesn't understand their language?

Julian Is A Mermaid by Jessica Love

A joyously inclusive story about a little boy who loves bright colours and dressing up. A glimpse of three women dressed as mermaids leaves one boy filled with wonder and ready to dazzle the world. When Julian gets home, daydreaming of the magic he's seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies and making his own fabulous mermaid costume. But what will Nana think about the mess he makes - and even more importantly - what will she think about how Julian sees himself?

If All the World Were… by Joseph Coelho

A moving, lyrical picture book about a young girl's love for her granddad and how she copes when he's gone, written by multi-award winning poet and Waterstones Children's Laureate Joseph Coelho.

Lubna and Pebble by Wendy Meddour

In an unforgettable story that subtly addresses the refugee crisis, a young girl must decide if friendship means giving up the one item that gives her comfort during a time of utter uncertainty. Lubna's best friend is a pebble. She found it on the beach when they arrived in the night, then she fell asleep in Daddy's salty arms.

Lubna tells Pebble everything. About home. About her brothers. About the war. Pebble always listens to her stories and smiles when she feels afraid. But when a lost little boy arrives in the World of Tents, Lubna understands that he needs Pebble even more than she does...

Hug Me by Simona Ciarolo

Ever feel like you need a hug, a really big hug from someone?That's how Felipe the young cactus feels, but his family just isn't the touchy-feely kind.

Mum’s Jumper by Jayde Perkin

If Mum has gone, how do you carry on? Missing her feels like a dark cloud that follows you around, or like swimming to a shore that never comes any nearer.

But memories are like a jumper that you can cuddle and wear. And Mum's jumper might be a way to keep her close. A simple, heartfelt and ultimately uplifting bookfor anyone coping with loss.

All About Feelings by Felicity Brooks and Frankie Allen

How are you feeling today? This fun, friendly and reassuring introduction to feelings is designed to help young children recognise, understand and name how they're feeling and learn to talk about and manage their emotions in helpful ways.

9 to 12

Rollercoaster series: But What If... by Paula Nagel

These are therapeutic stories focusing on exam anxiety, worrying about transitioning to secondary school and social isolation. Paula Negal has worked as an education psychologist for 17 years and is currently Principal Educational Psychologist (North) for the national children's mental health charity, Place2Be.

Rollercoaster series: Mindreading by Paula Nagel

These are therapeutic stories focusing on exam anxiety, worrying about transitioning to secondary school and social isolation. Paula Negal has worked as an education psychologist for 17 years and is currently Principal Educational Psychologist (North) for the national children's mental health charity, Place2Be.

Rollercoaster series: Stuck on a loop by Paula Nagel

These are therapeutic stories focusing on exam anxiety, worrying about transitioning to secondary school and social isolation. Paula Negal has worked as an education psychologist for 17 years and is currently Principal Educational Psychologist (North) for the national children's mental health charity, Place2Be.

You Are Awesome: Find Your Confidence and Dare to be Brilliant at (Almost) Anything by Matthew Syed

An inspiring book with lots of motivating messages! If you believe you can't do something, the chances are you won't try. But what if you really could get better at maths, or sport or exams? In fact, what if you could excel at anything you put your mind to? You Are Awesome can help young readers do just that, inspiring and empowering them to find the confidence to realise their potential.

The Same Inside: Poems about Empathy and Friendship by Liz Brownlee, Roger Stevens and Matt Goodfellow

These fifty poems deal sensitively with feelings, empathy, respect, courtesy, bullying, disability and responsibility. They are the perfect springboard to start conversations about these topics.

The Land of Neverendings by Kate Saunders

Moving, raw and funny in all the right ways, The Land of Neverendings is a rip-roaring adventure, but it also gives an honest portrayal of grief for young readers. The book shows that whilst sadness does exist in the world, it doesn't have to cancel out happiness, or silliness, even when you lose someone you love.

Walls by Emma Fischel

A moving, funny and heart-warming tale featuring Ned Harrison Arkle-Smith – whose world is falling apart - even discovering he can walk through walls isn’t helping. Original and quirky, this story will help children understand the impact of family difficulties and how we all can choose how we behave, even in the most difficult and unusual of circumstances.

The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson

A life-affirming story about a boy suffering from OCD, exploring friendship, loneliness and how to find hope even when it seems impossible.

Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot by Horatio Clare

A brilliant, imaginative tale about Aubrey, whose father is suffering from depression and how he is determined to help make his dad better. Everyone says his task is impossible, but Aubrey will never give up and never surrender. With the help of some wonderful animal friends, Aubrey sets out on a spell-binding adventure to fight the Terrible Yoot!

The Book of No Worries by Lizzie Cox

This guide covers a multitude of worries and anxieties that a young person may face while growing up, such as transitioning to secondary school and getting good grades while making and maintaining friendships. The book also looks at the non-stop nature of social media and the added pressure that it brings.